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April 23, 2006

Finucane Murder Inquiry Criticised

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News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 04/21/06
Plans For Finucane Murder Inquiry Criticised
BB 04/23/06 IRA 'No Excuse' For Assembly Halt
BN 04/23/06 Unionists Urged To Find Common Ground With Foes
IT 04/22/06 IMC Delivers Latest Six-Month Report
IT 04/22/06 Priest's Role In Peace Process Recognised
BB 04/22/06 Garda 'Sorry' Over Protocol Error
BB 04/22/06 Orde To Face Shooting Questions
BN 04/22/06 McDowell: SF Could Be 'King Maker'
IT 04/22/06 Conference Decision Disappoints McDowell
IT 04/22/06 Opin: The Census Tomorrow Night
IT 04/22/06 Opin: Let's Delay Next Resurrection Of Insurrection
IT 04/22/06 Opin: Not All Freedom Fighters Achieved Their Goals
JC 04/22/06 Opin: Westminster Abbey: The American Connection
IT 04/22/06 Call For US Murder Suspect's Arrest
BN 04/22/06 TD Welcomes Teaching Of National Anthem In Primary Schools
IT 04/22/06 US Ice Cream Firm In Black&Tan Apology


Plans For Finucane Murder Inquiry Criticised

British government plans to hold an inquiry under
controversial new legislation into allegations of security
force collusion in the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat
Finucane were today criticised by an eminent international

Arthur Chaskalson, former Chief Justice of South Africa and
first President of the Constitutional Court of South
Africa, voiced concerns about the Inquiries Act during a
visit to Belfast to gather evidence on the effects on human
rights of terrorism and counter-terrorism measures for the
Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists.

Mr Chaskalson is chairing an independent panel of eminent
jurists which is travelling the world gathering evidence
for the commission. He and fellow panellist, Justice Paul
Zaffaroni of the Argentinian Supreme Court, spent three
days in Belfast listening to legal academics, lawyers,
police, judges and politicians.

Speaking at a news conference before leaving, Mr Chaskalson
said concerns had been expressed to them about the lack of
legal provision for "full and transparent investigations of
deaths where there are suspicions of state involvement".

He said the recently enacted Inquiries Act - under which
the Government intends to hold the Finucane Inquiry and
others where state collusion has been alleged - was
criticised as adversely affecting the independence of

There have been allegations, denied by the Government, that
the Act will enable them to prevent a full, open and
transparent inquiry and disclosure of information they may
wish to keep secret.

Mr Chaskalson said he believed the concerns were "real to
the persons who wish to know what happened". They were also
real because, as he understood it, the Inquiries Act
provided "power to the executive to control the flow of

He said he understood there may be circumstances in which
there may be a need for certain matters to be treated
confidentially. However, he added: "It does seem to me that
where people are struggling to find out what happened, it
is very important that the inquiry should not only be open
and independent, but perceived to be open and independent.
It should be transparent."

He said he and his fellow panellist had met family members
of people who had died in unlawful killings and who had
been struggling for years to have full and transparent
investigations of the circumstances.

The two lawyers said they appreciated the distinct history
of Northern Ireland regarding the impact of terrorism and
counter-terrorism measures. Lessons could be learnt by the
rest of the world from what had happened.

The panel is taking evidence over 18 months before
producing a report on the impact of terrorism and counter-
terrorism on human rights and the rule of law for the
International Commission of Jurists.

Next week, they will be in London where they will take
evidence from British Home Secretary Charles Clarke and
human rights organisations such as Amnesty and Human Rights
Watch at a public hearing.

© The Irish Times/


IRA 'No Excuse' For Assembly Halt

NI politicians cannot continue to cite fears over IRA
terrorism as a reason for not joining a power-sharing
government, Peter Hain has said.

The secretary of state was speaking ahead of a report by
the commission set up to monitor paramilitary activity.

The assembly is also to be recalled on 15 May with a 24
November deadline for electing a new executive.

Mr Hain said that Northern Ireland was "light years away"
from where it had been.

Speaking on GMTV's Sunday Programme, Mr Hain said
republicans were increasingly heading towards engagement in
democratic politics.

He said the IRA was "cracking down" on criminal activity,
although there were still problems with some dissidents as
well as loyalist paramilitaries.

"But the overall picture is of a Northern Ireland light
years away from where it was," he said.

"I don't think that any politician in Northern Ireland can
use the excuse for much longer that the IRA poses a
terrorist threat or that it's organised some central
criminal conspiracy as a reason not to join in a power-
sharing government over the coming period."

Asked whether November would herald a new era of power-
sharing, Mr Hain said it was for the politicians to decide.

"They have to ask themselves a question: what is the future
of democratic politics in Northern Ireland if they will not
exercise the responsibilities for which they were elected?"
he asked.

"It's up to them - we can't continue as we are and we

The deadline would not be extended, Mr Hain added, and the
DUP had a "historic destiny" to take their place.

On Thursday, the government published emergency legislation
to enable the Northern Ireland Assembly to be recalled on
15 May.

It imposes an "immovable deadline" of 24 November in place
for forming a power-sharing executive.

The government also confirmed the next assembly elections
would be postponed until May 2008 if the executive is
restored by this date.

The legislation is expected to become law by 8 May.

Devolved government at Stormont was suspended in October
2002 following allegations of a republican spy ring.

Three men accused of being implicated in it were later

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external
internet sites

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/23 09:03:39 GMT


Unionists Urged To Find Common Ground With Foes

23/04/2006 - 11:37:52

Members of the Reverend Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionists
were today urged to use their appearance at an Anglo-Irish
parliamentary body body to find common ground with their

The appeal was made by Sinn Féin's Arthur Morgan ahead of
today’s start of the British Irish Parliamentary Body, an
organisation that draws is members from the parliaments and
assemblies of the British Isles.

A DUP delegation including deputy leader Peter Robinson is
due to engage with the group tomorrow in Killarney, Co
Kerry, with a presentation of its case.

However the DUP is insistent its decision to take part in
the event is not a u-turn on its boycott of the
Parliamentary Body which was formed in 1990 as a result of
the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

Mr Morgan said: "Along with all of the other members of the
Parliamentary Body I welcome the decision of the DUP to
attend this session in County Kerry. However the DUP need
to use this platform to find common ground, to engage with
political foes, to seek to build confidence amongst the
vast majority of people who want to see the Agreement work
and demonstrate that they are up for

inclusive power sharing.

"If the DUP are simply going to travel the length of
Ireland to grandstand for the media then an opportunity
will have been lost. Time is pressing on and we are only a
matter of weeks away from the reconvening of the Assembly
on May 15th. The time for grandstanding from the DUP has
long since past. They should now be in the business of
positive engagement with all of the other parties,
including Sinn Féin, if we are to see the fully functioning
all-Ireland institutions demanded by the people delivered.

"Sinn Féin despite all of the challenges are up for
engaging with the DUP. We are up for sitting in a power
sharing government with Ian Paisley's party.

"I am approaching the work of the coming days in a positive
frame of mind. I look forward to hearing what the DUP have
to say. I remain hopeful that progress can be made in the
weeks ahead. But ultimately the DUP have a decision to
make. Are they going to sign on the for Good Friday
Agreement institutions or are they going to continue to set
their face against change?

'It is my hope that we hear from Peter Robinson and his
colleagues this week that they are finally ready to join
with the rest of us a build a shared future on this island.
If we hear the opposite message from the DUP then that
places a large responsibility onto the shoulders of the two
governments, who then must act upon their pledge to deliver
the other elements of the Agreement and increase all-
Ireland decision making and action."

The DUP, Sinn Féin and other Northern Ireland Assembly
parties have been given an absolute deadline of November 24
to form an inclusive powersharing government.

Initially when the Assembly is recalled on May 15, they
will be given six weeks to try and form a devolved
government but are expected to be given one more try before
November 24.

The Democratic Unionists, however, have insisted that any
decision by them on whether they should go into a
government which includes Sinn Féin at Stormont or not,
will be determined not by deadlines imposed by British
Prime Minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

Peter Robinson, the East Belfast MP, has repeatedly said
that the determining factor will be whether the IRA has
genuinely ended all criminal and paramilitary activity.

In a pre-recorded television interview today ahead of the
publication of the latest report on paramilitary activity
by the Independent Monitoring Commission, Northern Ireland
Secretary Peter Hain insisted the Provisionals appeared to
be living up to their pledge last July to end their armed
campaign and were also tackling criminality within their

This, he argued, would ultimately remove any objection to
powersharing with Sinn Féin by the DUP.


IMC Delivers Latest Six-Month Report

Dan Keenan

The Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) has delivered
its latest report to Minister for Justice Michael McDowell
and Northern Secretary Peter Hain.

The two governments are expected to make the politically-
sensitive report public on Wednesday, coinciding with the
introduction of emergency legislation at Westminster to
enable the restoration of the Assembly.

The report, the IMC's 10th on paramilitary activity, refers
to the six months from last September, and covers the
period following last July's statement from the IRA that it
had ended its campaign and the decommissioning of weapons
in September.

The findings will be acutely politically sensitive in the
context of the two governments' efforts to restore the
Stormont institutions, and the placing of a deadline of
November 24th for progress.

If an executive is not agreed by the DUP and Sinn Féin, Mr
Hain has said the Assembly will be dissolved, elections
postponed indefinitely and Assembly members' salaries and
allowances stopped.

"It's up to them," Mr Hain told GMTV in an interview to be
broadcast tomorrow.

"We can't continue as we are and we won't. The deadline on
November 24th, which will be in the new emergency bill . .
. will make it clear that that's that . . . there's no
extending the deadline.

"Faced with that reality, I hope the politicians will say
we actually want to do the job that we were elected for."

© The Irish Times


Priest's Role In Peace Process Recognised

Frank McNally

The North's unionists are "the greatest asset Ireland has",
peace campaigner Fr Alec Reid has said. They could also
become "one of the great communities of Europe", he added,
"but the problem is they're terrified and isolated, and
they believe that giving equality to nationalists will mean
losing it themselves."

Fr Reid was was declared Tipperary Person of the Year last
night. He was honoured for his long-time involvement in the
Northern Ireland peace process and for his more recent work
in Spain, where he has been helping towards a peaceful
solution to the Basque conflict.

The Clonard missionary said that although he was frustrated
by long delays in establishing the North's institutions, he
was optimistic that the autumn deadline imposed by both
governments would be met.

He believed Dr Ian Paisley genuinely wanted an agreement
and that, in his own way, he was preparing his party's
supporters for an eventual deal.

He foresaw unionists becoming "the driving force" in a new,
agreed Ireland.

© The Irish Times


Garda 'Sorry' Over Protocol Error

Irish police have apologised to the PSNI for questioning
journalists in NI about the murder of a former Sinn Fein
official without informing them.

Gardai said people interviewed had not been connected with
the crime, but were spoken to in case they had information
which could help detectives.

They said the failure to inform the PSNI in advance was an

A PSNI spokesman, accepting the apology, said co-operation
between the two police forces remained high.

Mr Donaldson, 56, was found shot dead in a remote cottage
in County Donegal earlier this month.

He had been expelled from the party in 2005 after admitting
he was a paid British agent.

Mr Donaldson had been Sinn Fein's head of administration at
Stormont before his 2002 arrest over alleged spying led to
its collapse.

He and two others were acquitted of charges last December
"in the public interest".

One week later he admitted being recruited in the 1980s as
a paid British agent.

He said there had not been a republican spy ring at

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/21 22:02:20 GMT


Orde To Face Shooting Questions

The Policing Board will question Chief Constable Sir Hugh
Orde about the police shooting of a man in Ballynahinch
last Sunday.

Steven Colwell, 23, was shot by an officer at a checkpoint
just outside the police station in Church Street.

In a statement the board's chairman, Sir Desmond Rea,
extended his condolences to the family.

He also said it was a "traumatic event" for the officers
involved. The board will meet Sir Hugh on 3 May.

Sir Desmond said on Friday that the investigation into the
incident was a matter for Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan and
her team, and the board would await her report.

"The board will carefully consider the findings of this
report and any recommendations arising from it," he said.

Police fired a number of shots at the stolen car containing
six people after they apparently refused to stop at a

Mr Colwell, who had an address in Main Street, Cullybackey,
but who was originally from Belfast, died in the incident.

Three men and two women who were also in the car have been
released on bail and have been questioned by the ombudsman.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/21 13:44:23 GMT


McDowell: SF Could Be 'King Maker'

22/04/2006 - 14:01:16

The next General Election cannot be portrayed simply as a
battle between the current coalition Government and a
rainbow coalition, Justice Minister Michael McDowell
insisted today.

Mr McDowell told the Progressive Democrats national
conference in Limerick it was wrong to ignore the
possibility that Sinn Féin could potentially act as a king
maker in the next Dáil, deciding the make up of the next

He told conference delegates: “There are many commentators
who want the election to be a simple two-horse race between
the Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrat coalition and the

“But that version is false.

“It is fundamentally flawed. It ignores two basic political
facts – two facts which haven’t gone away you know.

“First there is the issue of Sinn Féin. If they get between
8% and 10% of the vote and translate that into seats they
will win between 11 and 16 seats in the next Dáil. And the
paper (before delegates) spells out what that will mean if
those seats constitute the effective balance of power.

“Second, there is the question of the Rainbow.

“No one believes that a Fine Gael-Labour-Green Rainbow
could win a majority and have more seats than Fianna Fáil,
the Progressive Democrats, the non-left independents and
Sinn Féin unless it were to be supported and kept in office
by Joe Higgins, Seamus Healy, Catherine Murphy, Tony
Gregory and perhaps one or two others.

“That my friends is a slump coalition. The Rainbow scenario
by any reasonable analysis is a government which would be
left dominated and dependent on the hard left.”


Conference Decision Disappoints McDowell

Stephen Collins

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell said last night that
he was disappointed at the decision of the Garda
Representative Body (GRA) not to invite him to address its
annual conference next month as is customary.

The GRA announced that it would not be inviting the
Minister because of his insistence on pressing ahead with
the Garda Reserve force which it has opposed strenuously.

Speaking to reporters in Limerick where he is attending the
national conference of the Progressive Democrats, he said
it was a matter for the GRA to invite who it wanted.

He said that while he was disappointed, he was still
prepared to discuss the matter with the GRA or anybody else
who had concerns about the Garda Reserve.

Mr McDowell added: "There is support for the proposal but I
am going to keep the door open for discussions. I am not
going to say I am miffed at this."

© The Irish Times


Opin: The Census Tomorrow Night


The census, tomorrow night, takes places at a time of
unprecedented social and demographic change. Officials at
the Central Statistics Office (CSO) expect the results to
show that the overall population may reach 4.2 million, the
highest level in 135 years. They also estimate that up to
10 per cent of the population, or 400,000 people, are
foreign nationals. This figure is similar to countries with
a long history of immigration, such as the US and Britain.

The influx of people into Ireland has accelerated in the
last two years since the accession of the 10 new EU member
states. Latest figures supplied by the Department of Social
and Family Affairs show more than 200,000 Personal Public
Service (PPS) numbers have been issued to people from
former accession countries since May 2004 alone. These
changes are certain to have profound implications for the
State, the extent of which will only become fully apparent
in the years ahead. Already they are contributing to a much
more complex and diverse population that is placing new
demands on services in areas like education, health and

Yet, despite such a rapid pace of change, many of the
figures cited above are just indications of population
change. PPS numbers, for example, give us an idea of how
many foreign nationals have registered to work, but do not
tell us how many are working or whether they have since
returned home. If the State and local authorities are to
respond effectively to the changing population in Ireland,
agencies need high-quality and reliable information. The
census, a €50 million undertaking by the CSO which includes
the use of about 5,000 temporary staff, is the most
effective way of providing an accurate snapshot of the way
we live and work today.

There has been some criticism levelled at the CSO over
aspects of the census regarding the wording of a new
question on ethnicity and the decision to list just five
religions by name.

However, the State body embarked on an exhaustive
consultation process over the course of almost three years
in which these questions, and others, were successfully
tested with interest groups and members of the public. If
anything, the CSO has taken unprecedented steps in seeking
to include people from a diverse range of backgrounds in
the preparation of the 2006 census. It has been translated
into 11 foreign languages, while supporting documentation
is available in a further five foreign languages.

Officials have been keen to stress to the general public -
but in particular foreign nationals - that information
given is treated as strictly confidential and is used for
statistical purposes only.

Ultimately, as the Taoiseach said recently, the census is
much more than just a headcount on a Sunday night. It is a
window into the future that will give policy makers
important insights into how to meet the needs of a changing
population. The need for accurate information on the way we
live, and are likely to live into the future, is more vital
now than ever before. The citizen can only gain by filling
in the form.

© The Irish Times


Opin: Let's Delay Next Resurrection Of Insurrection


Inside Politics: The pomp and ceremony surrounding the
official commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the 1916
Rising has provoked a healthy debate about the past. Since
last Sunday, politicians, with the next election uppermost
in their minds, have been wondering what impact the intense
focus on the violent events of the Easter Rising will have
on the future.

The clear intention of the Government in reinstating the
military parade through the centre of Dublin, after a lapse
of almost 30 years, was to prevent Sinn Féin "hijacking"
the anniversary commemorations for it own ends.

Whether the tactic worked will only become clear when the
results of the next election are in, but some politicians
have their doubts.

On the positive side, the commemorative events last Sunday
were sober and dignified. The parade by the Army (Óglaigh
na hÉireann) through the centre of the Dublin was an
appropriate way of marking one of the most significant
events on the road to Irish independence. The minute's
silence for all who died during the Rising was an
appropriately inclusive gesture.

However, the underlying problem was the official
reinstating of the Rising as the sole inspiration of Irish
independence, to the exclusion of all other historical
events from Catholic Emancipation to the election of the
first Dáil. The Taoiseach himself fuelled this
interpretation of events in a major speech at the beginning
of Easter week.

The 75th anniversary commemoration in 1991 was muted
precisely because a more extravagant commemoration would
have raised uncomfortable questions about the legitimacy of
political violence at a time when the Provisional IRA
campaign was still in full swing. Although the PIRA
campaign is now over, violent republicanism has not gone
away, as the arrest of four men in their bomb factory in
Armagh a few days after Easter demonstrated.

This is where the central problem about the commemoration
in terms of its impact on contemporary politics arises. Who
is likely to benefit politically in the longer-term from
the glorification of the role of the gun in Irish politics,
Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin or more extreme republican elements
who are still intent on wreaking violence on behalf of an
unwilling people?

Another, if lesser, problem about the commemoration was
that instead of Sinn Féin hijacking the event, it seemed at
times that the Taoiseach was intent on hogging the whole
thing solely for the benefit of Fianna Fáil.

Mr Ahern's speech, at the opening of the 1916 exhibition at
the National Museum on Palm Sunday, was certainly not one
of his best.

In that speech the Taoiseach maintained that the four
cornerstones of independent Ireland were the Proclamation
of 1916, Eamon de Valera's 1937 Constitution, the Treaty of
Rome of 1972 and the Good Friday agreement of 1998.

All the documents he mentioned were certainly critical to
the development of modern Ireland, but there were a few
glaring omissions.

The most obvious one was the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1922
which established the independent Irish state. And there
were other omissions, the declaration of the Republic in
1948, the Sunningdale Agreement of 1974 and the Anglo-Irish
Agreement of 1985.

The politics behind the inclusions and omissions is quite
obvious. Fianna Fáil is associated with the four events
listed by the Taoiseach, while the other four are linked to
Fine Gael. The attempt to manipulate history for party
political advantage was so blatant it was laughable, but it
dented the credibility of the week's events.

When it came to the parade on Easter Sunday the irony was
that, far from attempting to hijack it, Sinn Féin actually
engaged in a semi-boycott of the event.

All the political leaders of nationalist Ireland from the
President to the Taoiseach, from the Fine Gael leader to
the leader of the SDLP were there.

The British Ambassador also attended and the military
attaché at the British embassy gave a smart salute when the
Proclamation was read.

However, there was no sign of Gerry Adams, Martin
McGuinness or the Sinn Féin leader in the Dáil, Caoimhghín
Ó Caoláin. Arthur Morgan the party's Louth TD was there and
so was SeáCrowe from Dublin South West, but the absence of
the party's top brass was a deliberate tactic.

It seems that while the "war" may be over, the party still
has a problem recognising the institutions of the Irish
State, particularly the Army.

Sinn Féin staged its own parade down O'Connell Street, to
hear an address by Gerry Adams outside the GPO, on the day
before the official commemoration. The sinister get-up of
many of the marchers in their combat fatigues, black berets
and dark glasses probably did more harm than good, in terms
of impressing the Saturday afternoon crowd in town.

It is difficult to believe that this image will help the
party when it comes to election time, but it is an
indication that old habits die hard.

As Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin competed with each other for
ownership of 1916, the other major parties did not seem
sure whether to embrace the event or keep their distance.

Enda Kenny complained about the Taoiseach's selective
version of history, but was happy to endorse last Sunday's
commemoration. Pat Rabbitte congratulated the Army for its
display but said it was too early to make a judgment about
the long-term impact.

It is not clear whether or not the Easter Sunday parade
will be an annual event or whether the next big
commemoration will be left until the 100th anniversary.
Given the likely proximity of the general election to next
Easter, the chances are that any major event next year
would become an even bigger political football. All things
considered, it might be wise to leave the next big formal
commemoration until 2016.

© The Irish Times


Opin: Not All Freedom Fighters Achieved Their Goals


The condemned leaders of the Rising in 1916 went to their
deaths, confident that they had made a sacrifice of value
that would keep the dream of independence alive. Other
participants, even when they were initially despondent,
soon sensed that important changes were under way, writes
Martin Mansergh.

Independence would bring sobering realities and
responsibilities as well as struggles of a more mundane
nature, but the potential was unblocked.

Earlier generations, seeking freedom, had no such comfort.
Young Irelanders fitted into several categories. Thomas
Davis died young in 1845, but his writings were an
inspiration to later generations. Others proved their
capacity to govern abroad. Some were embarrassed by the
radicalism of their youth. Finally, there were the defiant,
like John Mitchel, and young men who went on to form the
Fenian brotherhood.

Bleaker still was the aftermath of the 1798 and 1803
Rebellions for the surviving United Irish leaders, many of
whom spent the rest of their lives in exile. Bright dreams,
embracing all traditions, extending the legislative
independence won in 1782, and inspired by France and
America, had ended in disaster, appalling bloodshed and
comprehensive defeat, with the Act of Union abolishing the
Irish Parliament and bolting the door on independence for
the foreseeable future.

Many settled in America. In the beautifully maintained
Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, on top of a hill, is the
grave of Matilda Tone, transferred from Georgetown DC in
1891. The restored monument funded by Irish-American
organisations was unveiled by President Mary Robinson in
October 1996. The inscription reads "revered and loved as
the heroic wife of Theobald Wolfe Tone".

Matilda Tone (1769-1849) was an indomitable woman, who,
despite much hardship, was more than anyone else
responsible for transmitting the legacy of Wolfe Tone to
posterity, by ensuring the publication of his memoirs and
diaries in two volumes in 1826.

Her son was the named editor and an officer in Napoleon's
armies, married the daughter of William Sampson. A
considerable orator, William Sampson was what would today
be called a human rights lawyer, and championed the rights
of Irish immigrants in early 19th century New York. His
grave and that of his wife is nearby. The inscription on
her tomb records she was "a faithful Wife, an affectionate
Mother, an upright Woman, a humble Christian", born
Belfast, Ireland, November 28th 1764, died August 6th 1855.

The inscription on his is nearly illegible, after "Born
Londonderry, June 1764".

The other words that can be picked out are "persecution",
his countrymen "who required his services", and "his long

In lower Manhattan, at the west end of Fulton Street, is St
Paul's Church (Episcopalian), overlooking the gaping hole
that was once the World Trade Center.

It was a centre for first aid, refuge and prayer, following
the attacks of 9/11, and attracts many visitors. Dating
from 1766, it is a beautiful colonial church with
balconies, and contains George Washington's box pew and
tall chair. He worshipped here immediately after being
sworn in as first president of the United States at City
Hall in 1789.

Outside in the churchyard to the right of the door, is a
monument to a Catholic, Dr William James MacNeven (1763-
1841), "who in the service of his native land sacrificed
the bright prospects of his youth and passed years in
poverty and exile, till in America he found a country which
he loved as truly as he did the land of his birth. To the
service of this country which had received him as a son he
devoted his high scientific acquirements with eminent

He wrote one of the first accounts of the 1798 Rebellion,
contained in his Pieces of Irish History. President Thomas
Jefferson thanked him for a copy in 1807, commenting: "It
is a record of the documents and facts which interested all
the feelings of humanity when they were passing, and stand
in dreadful account against the perpetrators. In this the
United States may see what would have been their history
had they continued under the same masters. Heaven seems to
have provided them as an asylum for the suffering."

To the other side of St Paul's Church is a tall obelisk at
the top of which is a cameo of Thomas Addis Emmet, elder
brother of Robert, who served as attorney-general of New
York. A long inscription is unhappily faded.

A worthwhile and inexpensive project would be to make it
legible again along with the inscription on William
Sampson's tombstone.

The tremendous research library in the American Irish
Historical Society on Fifth Avenue opposite the
Metropolitan Museum possesses in typescript a memorial of
Emmet, written during his imprisonment in Scotland, to Whig
opposition leader, Charles James Fox, with an outline of
Irish history to 1790. It reminds us that the right to
democracy and independence was as strong in 1800 as in
1916. Some quotations indicate its spirit, written by a
member of a family settled in Ireland since the mid-17th

"Civilisation has frequently been diffused by conquest and
even imposed by force. But such a civilisation can be
relative only, above the barbarism which it has succeeded,
far below the standard of independent voluntary

"National independence by no means necessarily leads to
national virtue and happiness, but reason and experience
demonstrate that public virtue and general happiness are
absolutely incompatible with a state of provincial

"The will of the people is the only rightful foundation of

"The very idea of such a proscription of three-parts of a
people (the penal laws) is utterly incompatible with the
idea of civil society."

Questioned by Archbishop Agar of Cashel about the economic
viability of an independent Ireland at a Parliamentary
Commission of Enquiry in 1798, Emmet replied: "America is
the best market in the world, and Ireland the best situated
country in Europe to trade with that market." Repeated to
President Clinton's commerce secretary William Daley, he
commented: "Farseeing man, your Mr Emmet." Tragedy,
frustration and unfulfilled ambition were the lot of many
generations of patriots.

© The Irish Times


Opin: Westminster Abbey: The American Connection

Last uploaded : Sunday 23rd Apr 2006 at 01:55
Contributed by : Carol Gould

I do not get about as well as I used to, but last week I
decided to be a tourist for a day and visit Westminster
Abbey. Indeed, the experience proved exhausting and I had
to sit down halfway through the building.

Whilst resting I asked a warder why there are American
flags in the stained glass windows. He explained that many
generous American donors had sent significant funds to
sustain the work of the Abbey. These windows were a way of
recognising their generosity. Amongst the donors have been
the Annenberg and Walton families. My fellow Philadelphian
Walter Annenberg had been US Ambassador to the Court of St.
James and the Waltons founded Wal-Mart. One window has a
Star of David alongside a cross, with the word
‘Reconciliation’ across the middle section. This was in
honour of a gift from an Anglophile American heiress who
comes over every year and leaves flowers in various
sections of the Abbey.

The warder said he bristles whenever he hears anti-American
rhetoric. Readers will know I do dwell on anti-Americanism
in Britain, so his kindness was a refreshing change from
the rebukes I get most days of the week.

Resuming my tour, I found a tiny café in an outdoor section
of cloisters and was told that there are no lavatories,
just those across the road . I had a good chuckle as I
looked down at the gravestone of John Burgoyne, partially
obscured by the feet of the servery in the café. Burgoyne
was the villain of my childhood schooling -- the ‘Redcoat’
General who failed to defeat the ragtag Colonial
revolutionary fighters, and thus was born the United States
of America.

Leaving the Abbey I asked another warder why, with
donations pouring in from the USA, there was no proper
restaurant or lavatory for weary visitors. He snarled at me
‘Madam, they gotta pay our salaries, and don’t think the
staff like having no lavatory.’ I decided to leave him in
peace, as I had obviously struck a nerve.

My recent illness has left me with limited energy so I
hailed a taxi. I told the driver that I had lived in London
for thirty years but had just learned something new: the
story of American generosity to the Abbey. I added that I
lamented the lack of facilities for the public. Obviously I
had hit a nerve with him, too. He launched into a lecture
about the amounts of money sent to the IRA by Americans. In
my naivete I had thought he would be touched that
Americans, some Jewish, had opened their chequebooks to
help maintain this icon of Christian worship.

He went on and on about NorAid and the IRA, dismissing the
Abbey contributions as irrelevant when it was Americans who
were still sending funds to the Irish terrorists.

I reminded him that it was a tiny majority of Americans who
sent money to the IRA. I also explained that Irish
Americans have an entirely different relationship with
others in the USA because they are so well-liked by the
general populace, unlike the derision they inspire in some
British circles. My ancestors, I told him, had come from
Lithuania in 1905 and had no Irish connection. He was of
Lithuanian Jewish extraction but did not get my point.

I wish Londoners would stop lecturing Americans about
slavery, the Indians, the IRA, and genocides we apparently

Yes, getting through immigration in the USA is not a nice
start, but once you are in the country Americans adore
Britons and offer unconditional warmth from Seattle to
Boston to Houston to San Diego. They do not lecture
Britons. I wish London would reciprocate.


Call For US Murder Suspect's Arrest

Seán O'Driscoll in New York

The mother of a Florida woman who was allegedly murdered by
a nurse who fled to Dublin has appealed to US and Irish
authorities to speed up the extradition case.

Belinda Herndon spoke after new evidence emerged that
wanted murder suspect Oliver Travis O'Quinn told his family
he intended to leave Dublin. Florida police say O'Quinn
recently wrote a goodbye letter to his ex-wife and
daughter, telling them it was time to move on from Dublin,
prompting the police in Gainesville, Florida, to release
details of the case to The Irish Times.

Ms Herndon, whose daughter Michelle was allegedly murdered
by lethal injection, said she had offered to pay for his
flight back to the US. However, she was advised by police
in Gainesville to allow them arrange his return.

"The police have done an excellent job, but the extradition
documents are just sitting there in someone's office and
it's taking too long," Ms Herndon said.

Gardaí have been aware for over two months that Mr O'Quinn
is living in Dublin but have been waiting for extradition
documents before arresting him.

© The Irish Times


TD Welcomes Teaching Of National Anthem In Primary Schools

21/04/2006 - 14:02:46

The decision to provide every primary school in the country
with a recording of the national anthem marks a major step
towards the compulsory teaching of Amhran na bhFiann, it
was claimed today.

Fianna Fáil TD Martin Brady said distribution of a CD of
the National Children’s Choir singing the Soldier’s Song
was a welcome step.

“There is clearly a desire amongst Irish people and
especially our young people to learn the anthem and its
history,” the Dublin North East TD said.

“Since I first called for the compulsory teaching of the
national anthem I have been overwhelmed by the public
response with messages of support coming from across the

Mr Brady said Minister for Education Mary Hanafin’s swift
action on the issue would ensure teachers and young
students have easy access to a recording of the anthem.

“I will be contacting the minister to see if the teaching
of the history of Amhran Na bhFiann can also be included in
the civics curriculum at second level schools,” she said.

“If the 1916 commemorations have shown anything it is the
thirst amongst people to reconnect and understand our

“The national anthem was there during key moments of that
history, we owe it to the memory of those who gave
everything to ensure it remains at the centre of major
public events in this country.”


US Ice Cream Firm In Black&Tan Apology

US ice cream makers Ben & Jerry's have apologised for
causing offence by calling a new flavour "Black & Tan" -
the nickname of a notoriously violent British militia that
operated during Ireland's war of independence.

The ice cream, available only in the United States, is
based on an ale and stout drink of the same name.

"Any reference on our part to the British Army unit was
absolutely unintentional and no ill-will was ever
intended," said a Ben & Jerry's spokesman.

"Ben & Jerry's was built on the philosophies of peace and
love," he added.

The Black and Tans, so-called because of their two-tone
uniforms, were recruited in the early 1920s to bolster the
ranks of the police force in Ireland as resistance to the
British occupation grew.

They quickly gained a reputation for brutality and mention
of the militia still arouses strong feelings.

"I can't believe that Ben & Jerry's would be so insensitive
to call an ice cream such a name and to launch it as a
celebration of Irishness ... it's an insult!" wrote one
blogger on .

"I hope they don't try to launch it here in Ireland or I
imagine they'll lose a lot of their fans."

Ben & Jerry's, a unit of Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant
Unilever Plc, prides itself on its commitment to friendly
business. Its mission statement includes a pledge to show
"a deep respect for human beings inside and outside our
company and for the communities in which they live."

© The Irish Times/

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